Our Blog

Why a new blog for the EU4Energy Governance Project?

This new series of blog posts from the EU4Energy Governance team is our new communication platform for sharing how our work is making a real difference for the citizens of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. 

Our legal and regulatory work is sometimes too complex to comprehend and this blog is about communicating the benefits of energy reforms and reaching out to citizens. “Why is this reform needed?”, “What exactly will change?” and “How will this reform make my everyday life better?” - these are the types of questions we will try to answer to help citizens understand the importance of energy reforms.

We invite your feedback to our monthly blog and any ideas for future blog topics to: EU4Energy@energy-community.org

Let’s talk energy efficiency in buildings -money saved, comfort increased and health improved…

In today’s blog I would like to focus on a topic I feel passionately about: energy efficiency in buildings!  Did you know there is a strong correlation between making energy efficiency improvements in buildings and reaping improvements in the health and comfort of the people living in those buildings? It’s true; let me explain how this works and how our EU4Energy team helps make this happen.

One of the main areas of our EU4Energy work involves helping countries prepare laws and regulations to improve energy efficiency in buildings, for example, in single family homes, multi-tenant apartment buildings, retail and commercial buildings, public buildings, etc.  We are supporting Moldova and Georgia authorities to adopt a new law on energy performance in buildings and Ukraine to implement the regulations that will allow for a better implementation of the law that has already been passed.

So what changes do these laws and regulations bring?

First they create the framework for energy efficiency in buildings – meaning, we help authorities to agree on how energy efficiency in buildings is calculated and then we help them set minimum performance requirements for different types of buildings. 

Second they introduce energy performance certificates.  These certificates help buyers and sellers of property to know the energy performance of the specific property.

Third they create a system of inspections of hot water boilers that heat buildings as well as air-conditioning units to ensure they are operating efficiently.

But how does this impact citizen’s lives?

Citizens stand to benefit in many ways.  First of all, after such legislation is in place, countries will introduce energy efficiency support schemes and information campaigns to help their citizens take energy efficiency measures in their homes. Energy efficiency measures will address such problems as drafty windows and doors, poor insulation and inefficient appliances.

The first and obvious benefit of taking such actions is money savings on your energy bills as you will be using less energy.  Perhaps the not so obvious benefits are in the areas of health and comfort.

Let’s take a simple example of installing new insulation in your home. New insulation will not only help keep you warmer (or cooler) with less energy, but it will also prevent unhealthy moisture condensation (mould) and reduce emissions of pollutants, which can cause many illnesses in your home’s occupants. Another benefit of insulation is that it helps reduce noise levels and protect your privacy by keeping the sounds from inside your home from being audible outside.

Many times we do not correlate energy efficiency measures with health issues.  However, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for indoor air quality, it states that there is sufficient epidemiological evidence of associations between dampness or mould and asthma development or exacerbation as well as respiratory infections including coughing, wheezing and dyspnoea.  In this same document, it is clearly stated that one of the four main reasons contributing to increased exposure to dampness and mould is energy conservation measures that are not properly implemented (e.g. tightened building envelopes, ventilation deficits, improper insulation). Therefore it is clear that a well-maintained building envelope is critical to the prevention and control of excess moisture and microbial growth and this directly links to the health of the building’s occupants.

So with the new energy performance certificates in place, you will know exactly the condition of the building you are planning to rent / buy and you will be able to calculate how much you will be spending on energy bills if your rent / buy that new place and perhaps most importantly, you will know what measure you have to take to ensure how healthy you will be living in this new place!

I encourage you to start to take energy efficiency in your home seriously – you will be happy you did!

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Acting Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert

 

A new take on how the EU4Energy Governance project will ultimately benefit citizens

Many people ask me what the EU4Energy Governance project does to help citizens in our countries of operation.  I decided it was time to tackle this question and try to answer it in ‘human language’ rather than with the usual technical jargon.

But we would need some context first. The EU4Energy Governance project works mainly in three Eastern Partner countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that are members of the Energy Community. Our work is focused on helping governments to draft and adopt new laws and regulations in the energy sector that will ultimately help citizens in three ways:

  • Citizens will benefit from lower energy bills and those most vulnerable will be supported in paying for their energy (reduction of energy poverty);
  • Citizens will have a reliable and better quality of energy supply; and
  • Citizens will have cleaner air quality as the emissions caused by energy-related activities are reduced.

But how do the new energy laws and regulations bring about such benefits for citizens?

Sometimes to explain something complex, it is better to use an analogy that is easy to understand.  Let’s use the example of a shop.  Let’s pretend that there is only one shop in the city that is run by the government.  As there is no competition, everyone purchases goods at this shop. The service is slow, and the selection and the quality of the goods leaves a lot to be desired.

The government wants to keep its citizens happy, so it charges artificially low prices for the goods at the shop which cover only a small fraction of the real cost of operation.  The income from the shop is not sufficient to cover the cost of operation and the shop constantly borrows money from the state and creates a huge debt.  The citizens in reality are not benefiting from this shop; the quality of the goods is low and they are paying more for the goods through indirect subsidies that come from their taxes.  The shop is about to go bankrupt as it cannot sustain the huge levels of debt and it has no income to invest in new equipment and goods for the shop.

The shop can continue to operate in this manner but it will eventually go bankrupt and cause severe problems to the state finances.  Alternatively, the government who owns the shop can try to save it and reduce its debt by re-organising the shop business in the city. The government can attract multiple investors to not only invest in the one shop, but also in additional new shops, which will create competition and ultimately reduce prices for consumers as they compete for their business.  Further benefits include that citizens will have better quality of goods and the state will be able to pay off the shop debt and even generate new income for the state finances from the new shops.

So how does this all relate to energy?

Well think of the shop in the above analogy as one of the state energy monopolies. It is no longer economically viable and has huge debts that even put the state at risk.  With no investments made in their energy infrastructure for many years, the reliability and quality of the energy supply is in jeopardy for their citizens.  The solution is the same as in the analogy: there is a need for total re-organisation or reform of the sector.

It is with this ‘re-organisation’ that the EU4Energy Governance team helps governments. Our team works side-by-side with relevant state actors to develop legislation and regulations for viable energy markets that put the citizen’s concerns at the heart of the reforms.  Simply put, we support energy reforms with this vision:

Citizens have secured energy for the long-term, at affordable rates, available through multiple suppliers that they can choose from and with the right to recourse in case of unfair treatment. 

Why a new hashtag #EnergyReforms4Citizens?

As part of our ongoing focus to help create an awareness of the benefits of these energy reforms for citizens, we have adopted a new hashtag for our work: #EnergyReforms4Citizens.  This new hashtag will help us better document how the reforms are benefiting citizens and how citizens are at the heart of our work.

Why a new blog for the EU4Energy Governance team?

Sometimes our work can seem very complicated and legalistic.  We want to have an opportunity to take away the technical jargon and present our work in an easy-to-understand way. This new series of blog posts from the EU4Energy Governance team is our new communication platform for sharing the ‘human side’ of our work and the impact it is making. I hope you enjoyed this first blog post and invite your comments and questions for future blog posts. 

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Acting Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert

 

A new take on how the EU4Energy Governance project will ultimately benefit citizens

Many people ask me what the EU4Energy Governance project does to help citizens in our countries of operation.  I decided it was time to tackle this question and try to answer it in ‘human language’ rather than with the usual technical jargon.

But we would need some context first. The EU4Energy Governance project works mainly in three Eastern Partner countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that are members of the Energy Community. Our work is focused on helping governments to draft and adopt new laws and regulations in the energy sector that will ultimately help citizens in three ways:

  • Citizens will benefit from lower energy bills and those most vulnerable will be supported in paying for their energy (reduction of energy poverty);
  • Citizens will have a reliable and better quality of energy supply; and
  • Citizens will have cleaner air quality as the emissions caused by energy-related activities are reduced.

 

But how do the new energy laws and regulations bring about such benefits for citizens?

Sometimes to explain something complex, it is better to use an analogy that is easy to understand.  Let’s use the example of a shop.  Let’s pretend that there is only one shop in the city that is run by the government.  As there is no competition, everyone purchases goods at this shop. The service is slow, and the selection and the quality of the goods leaves a lot to be desired.

The government wants to keep its citizens happy, so it charges artificially low prices for the goods at the shop which cover only a small fraction of the real cost of operation.  The income from the shop is not sufficient to cover the cost of operation and the shop constantly borrows money from the state and creates a huge debt.  The citizens in reality are not benefiting from this shop; the quality of the goods is low and they are paying more for the goods through indirect subsidies that come from their taxes.  The shop is about to go bankrupt as it cannot sustain the huge levels of debt and it has no income to invest in new equipment and goods for the shop.

The shop can continue to operate in this manner but it will eventually go bankrupt and cause severe problems to the state finances.  Alternatively, the government who owns the shop can try to save it and reduce its debt by re-organising the shop business in the city. The government can attract multiple investors to not only invest in the one shop, but also in additional new shops, which will create competition and ultimately reduce prices for consumers as they compete for their business.  Further benefits include that citizens will have better quality of goods and the state will be able to pay off the shop debt and even generate new income for the state finances from the new shops.

So how does this all relate to energy?

Well think of the shop in the above analogy as one of the state energy monopolies. It is no longer economically viable and has huge debts that even put the state at risk.  With no investments made in their energy infrastructure for many years, the reliability and quality of the energy supply is in jeopardy for their citizens.  The solution is the same as in the analogy: there is a need for total re-organisation or reform of the sector.

It is with this ‘re-organisation’ that the EU4Energy Governance team helps governments. Our team works side-by-side with relevant state actors to develop legislation and regulations for viable energy markets that put the citizen’s concerns at the heart of the reforms.  Simply put, we support energy reforms with this vision:

Citizens have secured energy for the long-term, at affordable rates, available through multiple suppliers that they can choose from and with the right to recourse in case of unfair treatment. 

Why a new hashtag #EnergyReforms4Citizens?

As part of our ongoing focus to help create an awareness of the benefits of these energy reforms for citizens, we have adopted a new hashtag for our work: #EnergyReforms4Citizens.  This new hashtag will help us better document how the reforms are benefiting citizens and how citizens are at the heart of our work.

Why a new blog for the EU4Energy Governance team?

Sometimes our work can seem very complicated and legalistic.  We want to have an opportunity to take away the technical jargon and present our work in an easy-to-understand way. This new series of blog posts from the EU4Energy Governance team is our new communication platform for sharing the ‘human side’ of our work and the impact it is making. I hope you enjoyed this first blog post and invite your comments and questions for future blog posts. 

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Deputy Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert

 

A new take on how the EU4Energy Governance project will ultimately benefit citizens

Many people ask me what the EU4Energy Governance project does to help citizens in our countries of operation.  I decided it was time to tackle this question and try to answer it in ‘human language’ rather than with the usual technical jargon.

But we would need some context first. The EU4Energy Governance project works mainly in three Eastern Partner countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that are members of the Energy Community. Our work is focused on helping governments to draft and adopt new laws and regulations in the energy sector that will ultimately help citizens in three ways:

  • Citizens will benefit from lower energy bills and those most vulnerable will be supported in paying for their energy (reduction of energy poverty);
  • Citizens will have a reliable and better quality of energy supply; and
  • Citizens will have cleaner air quality as the emissions caused by energy-related activities are reduced.

 

But how do the new energy laws and regulations bring about such benefits for citizens?

Sometimes to explain something complex, it is better to use an analogy that is easy to understand.  Let’s use the example of a shop.  Let’s pretend that there is only one shop in the city that is run by the government.  As there is no competition, everyone purchases goods at this shop. The service is slow, and the selection and the quality of the goods leaves a lot to be desired.

The government wants to keep its citizens happy, so it charges artificially low prices for the goods at the shop which cover only a small fraction of the real cost of operation.  The income from the shop is not sufficient to cover the cost of operation and the shop constantly borrows money from the state and creates a huge debt.  The citizens in reality are not benefiting from this shop; the quality of the goods is low and they are paying more for the goods through indirect subsidies that come from their taxes.  The shop is about to go bankrupt as it cannot sustain the huge levels of debt and it has no income to invest in new equipment and goods for the shop.

The shop can continue to operate in this manner but it will eventually go bankrupt and cause severe problems to the state finances.  Alternatively, the government who owns the shop can try to save it and reduce its debt by re-organising the shop business in the city. The government can attract multiple investors to not only invest in the one shop, but also in additional new shops, which will create competition and ultimately reduce prices for consumers as they compete for their business.  Further benefits include that citizens will have better quality of goods and the state will be able to pay off the shop debt and even generate new income for the state finances from the new shops.

So how does this all relate to energy?

Well think of the shop in the above analogy as one of the state energy monopolies. It is no longer economically viable and has huge debts that even put the state at risk.  With no investments made in their energy infrastructure for many years, the reliability and quality of the energy supply is in jeopardy for their citizens.  The solution is the same as in the analogy: there is a need for total re-organisation or reform of the sector.

It is with this ‘re-organisation’ that the EU4Energy Governance team helps governments. Our team works side-by-side with relevant state actors to develop legislation and regulations for viable energy markets that put the citizen’s concerns at the heart of the reforms.  Simply put, we support energy reforms with this vision:

Citizens have secured energy for the long-term, at affordable rates, available through multiple suppliers that they can choose from and with the right to recourse in case of unfair treatment. 

Why a new hashtag #EnergyReforms4Citizens?

As part of our ongoing focus to help create an awareness of the benefits of these energy reforms for citizens, we have adopted a new hashtag for our work: #EnergyReforms4Citizens.  This new hashtag will help us better document how the reforms are benefiting citizens and how citizens are at the heart of our work.

Why a new blog for the EU4Energy Governance team?

Sometimes our work can seem very complicated and legalistic.  We want to have an opportunity to take away the technical jargon and present our work in an easy-to-understand way. This new series of blog posts from the EU4Energy Governance team is our new communication platform for sharing the ‘human side’ of our work and the impact it is making. I hope you enjoyed this first blog post and invite your comments and questions for future blog posts. 

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Deputy Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert

 

A new take on how the EU4Energy Governance project will ultimately benefit citizens

Many people ask me what the EU4Energy Governance project does to help citizens in our countries of operation.  I decided it was time to tackle this question and try to answer it in ‘human language’ rather than with the usual technical jargon.

But we would need some context first. The EU4Energy Governance project works mainly in three Eastern Partner countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that are members of the Energy Community. Our work is focused on helping governments to draft and adopt new laws and regulations in the energy sector that will ultimately help citizens in three ways:

  • Citizens will benefit from lower energy bills and those most vulnerable will be supported in paying for their energy (reduction of energy poverty);
  • Citizens will have a reliable and better quality of energy supply; and
  • Citizens will have cleaner air quality as the emissions caused by energy-related activities are reduced.

 

But how do the new energy laws and regulations bring about such benefits for citizens?

Sometimes to explain something complex, it is better to use an analogy that is easy to understand.  Let’s use the example of a shop.  Let’s pretend that there is only one shop in the city that is run by the government.  As there is no competition, everyone purchases goods at this shop. The service is slow, and the selection and the quality of the goods leaves a lot to be desired.

The government wants to keep its citizens happy, so it charges artificially low prices for the goods at the shop which cover only a small fraction of the real cost of operation.  The income from the shop is not sufficient to cover the cost of operation and the shop constantly borrows money from the state and creates a huge debt.  The citizens in reality are not benefiting from this shop; the quality of the goods is low and they are paying more for the goods through indirect subsidies that come from their taxes.  The shop is about to go bankrupt as it cannot sustain the huge levels of debt and it has no income to invest in new equipment and goods for the shop.

The shop can continue to operate in this manner but it will eventually go bankrupt and cause severe problems to the state finances.  Alternatively, the government who owns the shop can try to save it and reduce its debt by re-organising the shop business in the city. The government can attract multiple investors to not only invest in the one shop, but also in additional new shops, which will create competition and ultimately reduce prices for consumers as they compete for their business.  Further benefits include that citizens will have better quality of goods and the state will be able to pay off the shop debt and even generate new income for the state finances from the new shops.

So how does this all relate to energy?

Well think of the shop in the above analogy as one of the state energy monopolies. It is no longer economically viable and has huge debts that even put the state at risk.  With no investments made in their energy infrastructure for many years, the reliability and quality of the energy supply is in jeopardy for their citizens.  The solution is the same as in the analogy: there is a need for total re-organisation or reform of the sector.

It is with this ‘re-organisation’ that the EU4Energy Governance team helps governments. Our team works side-by-side with relevant state actors to develop legislation and regulations for viable energy markets that put the citizen’s concerns at the heart of the reforms.  Simply put, we support energy reforms with this vision:

Citizens have secured energy for the long-term, at affordable rates, available through multiple suppliers that they can choose from and with the right to recourse in case of unfair treatment. 

Why a new hashtag #EnergyReforms4Citizens?

As part of our ongoing focus to help create an awareness of the benefits of these energy reforms for citizens, we have adopted a new hashtag for our work: #EnergyReforms4Citizens.  This new hashtag will help us better document how the reforms are benefiting citizens and how citizens are at the heart of our work.

Why a new blog for the EU4Energy Governance team?

Sometimes our work can seem very complicated and legalistic.  We want to have an opportunity to take away the technical jargon and present our work in an easy-to-understand way. This new series of blog posts from the EU4Energy Governance team is our new communication platform for sharing the ‘human side’ of our work and the impact it is making. I hope you enjoyed this first blog post and invite your comments and questions for future blog posts. 

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Deputy Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert

 

Energy consumer rights: providing citizens with more options and better protection in a competitive energy market

With a competitive electricity and gas market, citizens in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will benefit from lower energy bills and a secure supply of good-quality electricity and gas in their homes.  However, some citizens are concerned that in a competitive energy market they will be vulnerable to the profit gains of energy companies, and they will be left unprotected and on their own. 

Nothing could be further from the truth! In a competitive energy market, citizens are entitled to consumer rights that will better protect them and give them more options and power in selecting a supplier of their choice.  Energy consumer rights are guaranteed under the Third Energy Package, and the countries are obliged to integrate consumer rights in their national legislation.

With the energy sector reforms, new provisions on energy consumer rights are being introduced in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Let’s look at some of the key energy consumer rights that will soon be a reality for consumers of the three countries: the right to an electricity connection and choice of supplier, clear data on consumption and transparent service contracts, and protecting the rights of energy consumers.

#1 - The right to an electricity connection and a choice of supplier

All citizens have the right to a connection with the local electricity network, regardless of where they live – in a large city, a small town, or a rural village.  The network operator is responsible for making the connection, and operating and maintaining the transmission lines that will bring the electricity into your home – regardless of which supplier you select to provide you with electricity services. The National Regulatory Authority of your country is responsible for ensuring that this process is being followed.

Consumers are free to choose any electricity and gas supplier that provides services in their area.  This is probably the most well-known fact to most citizens of the benefits of a competitive energy market. Consumers can also switch suppliers if they are not happy with the services or if they found better prices.  The energy consumer protection legislation in your country will ensure that you can switch suppliers easily and quickly, provided that you respect the notice period and the agreed minimum duration of your contract.

  • You cannot be charged for switching suppliers.
  • The change in supplier must be completed within the time period foreseen in your country’s legislation.
  • Energy suppliers cannot impose any unfair conditions in the service contract that would prevent you from switching suppliers.
  • The previous supplier must provide you with a final closing of the account within the specified time period foreseen in your country’s legislation.
  • You are not obligated to have the same supplier for electricity and gas services.

#2 – Clear data on consumption and transparent service contracts

Consumers have the right to access accurate information on their energy consumption which must be provided by the energy supplier at no additional cost. Clear information on your consumption will allow you to manage your energy usage and cost more effectively:

  • You will have a better understanding of your energy usage and you will be in a better position to implement energy efficiency measures that will help you lower your energy consumption.
  • You can check your energy bills so you are sure you are paying for energy used at the agreed prices in your service contract.
  • You have accurate information on energy usage and prices so you can easily compare offers from other energy suppliers.

The energy consumer protection legislation in your country will ensure that data on consumption is provided to you under the following conditions:

  • You cannot be charged for data on your energy consumption.
  • The data on your energy consumption must be provided in your energy bill, clearly indicating the billing period, and you must be charged according to this consumption.
  • Energy bills must be sent on a regular basis so you can easily manage your energy usage.
  • If you have a smart meter installed in your home, you have the right to access data on the history of your energy consumption (i.e. by day, week, or month).

So you are now ready to sign your contract with your new energy supplier…..but wait, there is still more to know! Consumers also have the right to receive transparent information on their service contract before signing with a supplier.  The contract must be clear and understandable without excessive documentation or other conditions that impose a barrier to signing the contract.

Before you pick-up your pen, here is what you should look for before signing an energy service contract.

Minimum information:  Make sure that the following minimum information is included in your service contract:

  • The type of supply that is being provided and the quality
  • Information on price tariffs and maintenance charges
  • Under what conditions and how are price tariffs changed
  • The contract duration and conditions for renewal, withdrawal and termination
  • What compensation is offered if the supplier does not meet their obligations
  • How to make a complaint and how disputes are handled

Changes in prices:  It is important that you know as a consumer under what conditions prices are changed and according to what method.  Your energy service contract should clearly state the following information regarding price changes which are your guaranteed rights as an energy consumer:

  • The contract should clearly state if price changes are permitted, and if so under what conditions and according to what method prices are changed.
  • The energy supplier must inform you in advance and provide sufficient notice before changing prices.
  • You are not obliged to accept the price changes and you are free to end your contract.

Right of withdrawal:  even if you concluded your contract outside of the energy supplier’s office – that is in your home, work place or by telephone, or the Internet, then you have the right of withdrawal.  This means that if you change your mind after signing the contract, you have 14 days from the day you concluded the contract to withdraw.  The right of withdrawal should be clearly stated in your contract.

#3 – Protecting the rights of consumers

Energy consumer rights must be protected by the national legislation and certain mechanisms need to be in place to ensure that consumers can obtain quickly and easily information on their rights and how to resolve complaints and disputes with suppliers:

  • Each country has a single point of contact where consumers can receive information about their rights and what to do in case of a complaint or dispute with a supplier.
  • Your energy supplier has to include in your contract information on how you can file a complaint.
  • If your energy supplier does not reply to your complaint, you have the right to send your complaint to an independent body, such as an energy ombudsman or a consumer body, for an out-of-court settlement.

EU4Energy Governance project and consumer protection

The EU4Energy Governance project provides support to Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in preparing the relevant legislation for energy consumer rights as part of a reformed and competitive energy market. Work has been carried out in transposing the legislation from the Third Energy Package into the national legislation of the three countries, which include all the requirements for energy consumer rights.

A competitive energy market offers citizens the opportunity to choose their energy supplier, and better plan and make decisions about their energy consumption and energy efficiency measures they can implement in their homes. The legal framework, when in place, will ensure consumer protection rights that are specific to energy services and that they are not left unprotected in a competitive market!

SURZHOK Inna

Electricity Expert 

Country Work Programmes: 
A look at the upcoming activities for this year’s work

The EU4Energy Governance project runs for four years from June 2016 to June 2020.  Every year, the project publishes the new annual Country Work Programme for each of the three countries: Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, that shows the full scope of work planned for the year ahead. Prepared annually, in close consultation with the stakeholders of each country, the Country Work Programme helps to better plan, set objectives and priorities for the project and coordinate with the governments of each country the specific support and assistance needed for energy sector reform.

A glance at this year’s Country Work Programme & benefits for citizens

Our work is focused on helping governments to draft and adopt new laws and regulations in the energy sector that will ultimately help citizens in three ways:

  • Citizens will benefit from lower energy bills and those most vulnerable will be supported in paying for their energy (reduction of energy poverty);
  • Citizens will have a reliable and better quality of energy supply; and
  • Citizens will have better air quality as the emissions caused by energy-related activities are reduced.

The information on the key upcoming activities listed below is aimed at raising awareness about the most important work for this year that will have an impact on energy sector reform and is of interest to citizens.

In the energy efficiency sector in Georgia, the focus of last year’s EU4Energy Governance project support was in the building sector.  The draft law on energy performance in buildings was developed and submitted to the Parliament of Georgia and support was provided for establishing the certification for the energy performance of buildings.  In this year’s Country Work Programme, the work continues on energy efficiency in buildings.  The EU4Energy Governance project will provide support in developing the regulations and guidelines for the regular inspection of heating and air conditioning systems which is a vital part in ensuring the energy performance of buildings. The regulations will ensure inspections are carried out regularly by qualified experts, making buildings more energy efficient and safer for citizens.

As part of Georgia’s efforts in reforming its wholesale electricity and gas markets, the EU4Energy Governance project team provided assistance in drafting the secondary legislation to support the implementation of the draft Law on Energy and Water Supply that is expected to be adopted by Parliament within this year. Parts of the legislative requirements are the regulations that will protect vulnerable customers and this will be a focus of the work that will be carried out by the EU4Energy Governance project this year. The regulations will ensure that vulnerable customers have access to electricity and gas supplies and will help alleviate energy poverty.  Along with general customer protection, such as  transparency of contractual terms and conditions, general information, and dispute settlement mechanisms, vulnerable customers will be protected through social security benefits to ensure electricity and gas supply, or by providing support for energy efficiency improvements.

The EU4Energy Governance project will provide assistance to Moldova and Ukraine in preparing a strategy for mobilizing investments to renovate and upgrade existing buildings so they are more energy efficient. The strategy will describe the policies and measures required to assist building and home-owners to implement energy efficient technologies. The strategy will also reflect the financing measures that will be provided to citizens to renovate existing buildings and it will help state authorities communicate to citizens energy efficient cost-effective approaches that can be implemented.

The EU4Energy Governance project will also provide support to Moldova, in the area of energy efficiency, for the development of the Monitoring and Verification Platform for the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP).  The Monitoring and Verification Platform is an application that helps measure the progress of the energy efficiency targets stipulated in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan. By measuring the progress of the targets, state authorities can make necessary adjustments to measures and policies to ensure that targets are achieved.

In the area of electricity, the work of the EU4Energy Governance project in Moldova will focus on continuing work in the electricity balancing market.  Balancing mechanisms ensure security of supply by balancing the real-time supply and demand of electricity (total production must be equal to total demand in order to have a stable supply).  Work will be carried out in developing important rules, regulations, procedures and legal acts for national and cross-border (Moldova-Ukraine) electricity market balancing.

In the previous country programme for Ukraine, the assistance of the EU4Energy Governance project in gas market reform targeted the preparation of methodologies and indicators for the monitoring of the quality of gas distribution and supply services, and the methodology for gas distribution tariffs. This year, the project contributed to the development of an IT platform for the collection of gas related data. A specialized IT platform will assist state authorities in exchanging, collecting and assessing gas related data that will lead to an efficient functioning gas market.

The EU4Energy Governance project has provided vital support in preparing methodologies, legislation and procedures to support Ukraine with the transition to a new model of electricity market. The current Country Work Programme foresees a continuation of work in this direction.  A methodology will be prepared for carrying out the economic assessment of smart meter implementation in Ukraine. The roll-out of smart meters in Ukraine is not only beneficial for electricity operators but also for consumers.  Smart meters help consumers receive near real time information on energy consumption so that they are able to better manage their energy use, save money, and reduce emissions.

A challenging and exciting year lies ahead in providing support and assistance to Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in implementing necessary energy sector reforms that will change the energy landscape of the countries.  The EU4Energy Governance project is committed to this work that has as its ultimate beneficiary, the citizen!

 

Svitlana KARPYSHYNA
Acting Head of Unit
Renewables and Energy Efficiency Expert 

 

Mr. Bernhard Maier 

Associate Squire Patton Boggs, Appointment Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown for Public International Law (UK)

Download CV

 

Mr. Florian Neumayr

 

HCo-managing partner bpv Hügel Rechtsanwälte OEG (Austria)


Download CV

Gas market reform: there is more at stake than the price of your energy bill

The EU4Energy Governance project has been providing vital support to the governments of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in preparing the legislative and regulatory frameworks for gas market reform.  But what does this mean for the customer?  In the long-run, customers will benefit from better services and competitive gas prices. However, there is much more at stake in the gas market reforms than just prices:  energy security, sustainable economic development, and consumer protection are some of the issues that should concern everyone.

What is wrong with the current gas market?

A gas market dominated by one or few local incumbents, as is currently the case in the three countries, shows similar disadvantages of a monopoly market.  In such a gas market there is a lack of efficiency and transparency, and the quality of services provided to customers tends to be lower.  In a competitive environment, energy companies operate more efficiently, as they are obliged to optimize costs, reduce losses, increase their profits, and invest in new infrastructure while respecting tariffs set by energy regulators.  A reformed gas market that is open to competition also ensures that gas companies will strive to keep their customers by providing them with high-quality services with no disruption to their supplies.  National regulators ensure that fair rules are in place to protect customers, for instance responding quickly to requests for network connection, or for repairs, replying to customer complaints on any problem in services.

What is gas market reform?

This is a question that most consumers ask. Although they know many changes are happening, they are not sure of what gas market reforms entail.  Simply put, market reforms entail setting the legal and regulatory framework that will allow gas markets to operate competitively: it will allow new gas suppliers to enter the market, it will limit the monopoly powers of the incumbent companies, and it will ensure that market relations such as setting prices or providing access to the infrastructure are fair and non-discriminatory.  The changes in the legal and regulatory framework can be categorized in five main areas: 

  • Unbundling – the separation of the gas transport and gas supply services guarantees that the incumbent company no longer has an influence on the operation and the development of the gas transport infrastructure; rather, a gas transport company would finance its operation and development from the transportation tariffs and provide independent and transparent services to everyone on the market;
  • Access to the network – to all gas supply and trading companies, so that everyone will be able to use the gas transport infrastructure and thus to purchase and sell gas both on the national gas market and across the borders;
  • Wholesale market – the rules and the design of the wholesale market will safeguard that both existing market players and new market entrants are subject to the same regulations and their roles and responsibilities are clearly spelled out.;
  • Retail market – through the reforms on the retail market, national regulators can ensure that customers have the possibility to choose a supplier who has the best offer and that companies can earn a fair return on their investments without putting excessive charges on consumers;
  • Interconnectivity – new infrastructure projects can link currently isolated markets, which can in turn lower gas prices by introducing a higher level of competition. Stronger links can also provide access to larger amounts of gas and as such boost security of supply.

How is the EU4Energy Governance project helping?

The EU4Energy Governance project has been providing support, over the last three years to the governments of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine in preparing the legal and regulatory frameworks for gas market reforms.  This involves the following activities: preparing relevant legislation; holding high-level policy talks with government authorities and stakeholders to speed-up the adoption of new legislation; establishing working groups with stakeholders to support the reform process; and organising regional meetings to identify investment opportunities for regional infrastructure projects.

A lot of work has been done in the last three years, but more work remains to be done.

In Georgia, the key priorities are the adoption of the new Law on Energy, which includes the unbundling of gas transport and gas supply services, establishing a system for open and transparent access to gas networks and putting in place the necessary instruments for efficient supplier switching. 

In Moldova, the necessary legislation has been largely put in place by national authorities in cooperation with the Energy Community Secretariat, and the EU4Energy project supported several projects in this area. The issue of unbundling and connecting Moldova to other markets such as to Romania continue to remain a challenge.

In Ukraine, the major international focus during 2019 is on the future transit of Russian gas towards the EU and on gas supplies to Ukraine itself in the winter of 2019/2020. The unbundling of Naftogaz and the establishment and certification of an independent gas transmission system operator are pre-requisites for the above. Other major challenges in the gas sector include the abolishment of the regulated prices and the definition of such prices and tariffs for natural gas distribution, which are fair for customers but also, guarantee a normal operation of the relevant companies so that they can provide high-quality services.

Peter Pozsgai

Gas Expert
Eastern Partnership Assistance Unit

Ms. Irina Paliashvili 

 

Manager Partner RULG-UKRAINIAN Legal Group (USA) 

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Mr. Yaroslav Petrov

 

Counsel Asters law firm (Ukraine) 

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Mr. Andreas Pointvogl

 

Project Manager BLUBERRIES GmbH (Germany)

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Mr. Martin Svatos

 

Mediator / Arbitrator FORARB, Partner (Czech Republic)


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Ms. Svitlana Teush

 

Of Counsel of Redcliffe Partners law firm (former Clifford Chance Ukraine)


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Mr. Michael Thomadakis 

 

Director, Grant Thornton S.A., Athens (Greece) 


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Ms. Mariya Tsocheva

 

Senior Legal Counsel (Bulgaria)


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Mr. Herman Verbist

 

Attorney-at-Law, Member of Ghent and Brussels Bar (Belgium)

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Ms. Vanesa Vujanic

 

Attorney-at-Law, Partner Vujanic Law Office (Croatia)

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Mr. Okan Yardimci

 

Senior Energy Expert Energy Market Regulatory Authority, Ankara (Turkey) 

 
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Mr. Paul C. Deemer

Partner Of Counsel at Vinson & Elkins RLLP (UK)

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Ms. Anna De Luca

Attorney at law and (contract) professor at Università Bocconi (Italy)

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Mr. Nikos Lavranos

 

Legal advisor & dispute resolution consultant, NL-investment consulting.com, Haarlem (Netherlands) 

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Mr. Moritz Keller

 

Head of arbitration practice in Vienna at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Austria)

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Ms. Miryan Weichselbaum-Gharibo

 

International Commercial Mediator, Partner at Let's Agree (Austria)
 

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